We all know that there is a lot of misinformation bandied about regarding breastfeeding. Those well-meaning family members and friends imparting breastfeeding advice may not have successfully breastfed for long, if at all, and their good intentions could end up damaging your breastfeeding relationship.
A great example I can think of is a friend of mine whose mother-in-law told her that she should only be feeding her newborn daughter for ten minutes on each side – likely the advice she was given when her children were born, as per the recommendations at the time – which ended up negatively impacting on her supply and causing a lot of grief.
Some other crackers I have heard include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
“Babies shouldn’t need to feed more than every 3 hours or so, if they do then you probably don’t have enough milk.”
“If you get thrush it’s best to stop breastfeeding because it can turn into mastitis.” (I actually know somebody personally who quit breastfeeding their 3 month old babe because they believed this to be true.)
“Breastmilk has no nutritional value after the age of 8 months; after that it’s just not necessary.” (Big thankyou to ‘Supernanny’ Jo Frost for this one…)
“Breastmilk doesn’t have enough iron in it for babies once they are 6 months old.”
“If you drink alcohol when you’re breastfeeding it will poison your baby.”
…So it’s not so hard to see how those well-meaning yet inaccurate pieces of advice can be detrimental to a fledgling breastfeeding relationship.
Following are a list of top tips that I have heard over the years, many of which have helped me at one time or another. I sincerely hope that they may help somebody else at some point!
Co-sleeping is a great way to make meeting your baby’s nighttime needs easier, whilst maximising the amount of sleep you get. Ensure you follow guidelines for safe co-sleeping .
Despite what your doctor may say, you might not have to stop breastfeeding to take certain drugs – there is usually an alternative. If they cannot find an alternative, check Hale’s Medications and Mothers Milk – this manual has extensive information about the safety of specific drugs during breastfeeding.
Take a flask of herbal tea to bed with you to make night feedings more pleasant! (OK, I have to make a confession here… I totally took hot chocolate instead…)
Please add your contributions! What breastfeeding tips or advice would you offer a new mum? What’s the best (and worst) piece of breastfeeding advice you have heard?
**The aforementioned Healthy Balanced Diet should always include chocolate. It should, I swear.